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Barbour announces program to help workers return to Miss. coast

A new federal-state program will offer training, job placement and other help to Mississippi Gulf Coast residents who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and want to move back home to work, Gov. Haley Barbour said Friday.

The “Working your Way Back Home” initiative is funded by the U. S. Department of Labor and administered by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security in partnership with Manpower, Inc.

The program helps Mississippians who evacuated to areas at least 151 miles from their homes because of the hurricane last Aug. 29.

Through the state’s network of WIN Job Centers, people may receive assistance with job placement or occupational training, plus money to pay relocation expenses.

Barbour announced the program at the Governor’s Recovery Expo, being held through Sunday at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi. He was joined by Helen Parker, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor, and officials with MDEA and Manpower.

“By helping to bring back skilled workers needed to fill jobs for rebuilding the Gulf Coast and south Mississippi, this initiative will be valuable to both displaced families and Mississippi businesses,” Barbour said in a news release.

Melanie Holmes, vice president of Manpower corporate affairs, said the program could become a model for other states recovering from hurricanes.